From Bennie Mundando, in Kampala, Uganda
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has asked African politicians to accept the outcome of elections and avoid claiming that the polls are marred with irregularities each time they lose.
President Lungu has also asked the opposition leaders in Uganda to respect the will of the people.
And security has tightened in Uganda’s capital Kampala ahead of today’s inauguration ceremony for President Yoweri Museveni to be attended by several African leaders at Kololo Independence Grounds.
Speaking on arrival at the Old Entebbe Airport yesterday, President Lungu said there was need for leaders of opposition political parties that lost the just-ended election in Uganda to accept the wish of the people by
conceding defeat if the country was to move ahead.
He said there was need for opposition leaders to appreciate that there was only one winner in an election and that the majority of Ugandans had decided to vote for the incumbent because it was their democratic right.
He said those who had been given the mandate to rule should be given an opportunity to lead the country without any interference so that they could deliver according to the expectations of the electorates.
He said the trend of disputing elections should come to an end because not all leaders could win in a poll, adding that the best political parties which had leaders who were not popular could do was to replace them so that credible candidates capable of collecting maximum votes could take over. He said it did not make sense for political parties who were ‘‘perpetual losers’’ in elections to maintain the same leadership yet there were credible people who could steer the party to victory but were prevented to take over.
“The message I have for Africans, Ugandans and Zambians inclusive is that let us accept the will of the people. There can only be one winner. After you win, you perform and so, you have to allow your friend who has won to perform; and political parties must learn to change leaders as well. You cannot have one political leader who keeps losing. “If you have a party leader who keeps on losing, substitute him and put someone else who can win and all political leaders should understand that there can only be one leader to win an election at a given time.
And Uganda Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has asked losing candidates in the February election, Amama Mbambazi and Kizza Besingye, to support government programmes in order to foster development in the country.
Dr. Rugunda noted that the recent election was free and fair and that some politicians who did not accept the outcome petitioned the results in the Supreme Court, adding that the fact that a panel of nine judges unanimously agreed that there was no malpractice in the electoral process meant that the election result was the reflection of the will of the people of Uganda.
He said while the two leaders had their own reasons to reject the outcome of the results, it was in the best interest of the people of Uganda to build the country for the future.
Meanwhile, security in Kampala has tightened ahead of today’s grand event which will see President Museveni sworn in to run the country until 2021 after a resounding victory which saw him get 63 percent of the votes cast.
A check in Kampala yesterday found military personnel manning places such as shopping malls, supermarkets and highways while police mounted roadblocks on all the major roads around the city.
Among the African leaders expected to attend the event are Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho and Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini among others.